Klondike, Oldest Polar Bear in U.S., Dies at Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo said goodbye to one of its longest-living companions Friday. Klondike the Polar Bear, who at 34 was the oldest polar bear in the country, was euthanized after zoo officials noticed a serious decline in her health and quality of life.

Klondike was born at Bronx Zoo in in 1980, and lived at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1981.

According to Kevin Murphy, general curator, Klondike was among the most popular animals at the zoo, constantly entertaining visitors by diving into her 125,000 gallon pool.

"She will be greatly missed by our staff," Murphy said in a release. "In addition to the joy she brought guests over more than three decades, she has been an important ambassador to wild polar bears, who are increasingly threatened by climate change and resulting shrinkage of polar ice."

Zoo staff noticed Klondike's health deteriorating about two weeks ago and kept a close eye on her. Despite treatment, her health did not improve.

Klondike far surpassed the average lifespan of polar bears, which is 24 years. Zoo staff felt Klondike had little to no chance for a high-quality life and it would be best to "humanely euthanize" her.

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